Monday, September 16, 2013

             Tons of stuff has happened since I wrote last and we have had the craziest 2 weeks ever. I’ll start with last week cause I didn’t get a chance to write an email. We started off the week with the last 3 zone conferences. The last one was in Columbia and we stayed up there to do our zone leader exchange. It was cool to get to be in Columbia when school was back in because Mizzou was packed. During the summer it’s just not quite the same. Me and Elder Wunderli went tracting out apartments and it was great. Then we finished up the week heading back to St Louis to go on exchanges in North zone. We played soccer with some non-members and less actives on a turf field in 100 degree weather. It was super fun and super not worth it. Especially cause lunch was McDonalds. We felt awful after but it was a blast.


             The reason we didn’t have a pday last week is because Elder Godoy came to our mission. He was here for 2 days and did two mission conferences. One on the Missouri side and one on the Illinois side. Last time we had a general authority visit he stayed for almost a week so trying to fit about a week’s worth of stuff into 2 days was an adventure. We didn’t get much sleep but it was worth it to get to hear his trainings. One thing he talked about a couple times was attributes vs techniques. Both are good but some people focus more on Christ like attributes and some people focus more on preach my gospel techniques. It’s ok to lean towards one side but we have to stay balanced. That was a really good training for me to hear so I can help myself and hopefully others too. 


            After the mission conferences we had 4 zone leader exchanges. We started in Fairview Heights and it was cool to go back there. We went to Cahokia and I miss that place so much. Everything there is pretty much trashed and the people are crazy but they are so nice and it’s so much fun getting to talk to all of them.


            After that we spent the day in the St Louis zone. That is one of the zones that isn’t tracting anymore, they’re just working with members. I went with a brand new missionary Elder Prescott for about 30 minutes and we just drove up to a members house who was outside asked him if he would come with us to one of his neighbors houses and he took us over there, introduced us, and we set up an appointment. It was super easy and resulted in a way solid new investigator. My mind was blown at how easy and productive it was. It didn’t even phase Elder Prescott because that happens to him and his companion all the time. Missionary work is definitely changing.


Our next day was down in Cape Girardeau and me and Elder Furlong went and drew the plan of salvation out in chalk on SEMO campus. One of the professors is a member and he came out and saw us and started telling students to listen to us. So when we finished drawing we had a line of college kids waiting to hear about the plan of salvation from us. It was super cool and it was fun to get to spend some time drawing even with thousands of students being super confused why 2 guys in suits were drawing on the sidewalk.


We finished out our week in South zone and it was fun to get to go back to Oakville. We went to a district meeting and heard a training from a southern Baptist pastor who has been investigating for like 30 years. It was cool to get to hear his point of view on things. 


             This week is hopefully going to be a lot calmer. We have transfer planning all week and it takes fooooorever. But we get to sleep in our own beds for a week so that will be super nice.


I’ll close up with a random cool story about member missionary work. There are elder and sisters working up at the University of Illinois and a girl came to church out of nowhere and was talking to the elders. She wanted to take the lessons but there weren’t any guys there so the elders couldn’t be alone with her so they passed her off to the sisters. After the elders talked to her for a little bit they asked her why she came to the church. She said her friend in Chicago told her to go. They asked who her friend was and she just said Jabari. After asking a few more questions the elders got it confirmed that they were handing over a member referral from Jabari Parker to the sisters. So if the most famous high school athlete in America can find time to do missionary work, then so can everyone else! The miracles and changes that we are seeing in our mission are incredible. I’m so thankful to be here and experience all of these changes. I love my mission!


-Elder Banks



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